Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Irish Hearts Broken on St Valentine's Day?

Steady Eddie O'Sullivan has played the percentages in his Irish selection, with the one - perhaps inspired? - shock being his selection of captain. Paul O'Connell is leading the Irish, presumably because there's no better man to cry havoc and unleash the dogs of war in Paris.

Other than that, Girvan Dempsey retains 15, D'Arcy is in for O'Driscoll and the pack is as you were, more or less, from the World Cup, with Shane Byrne and Keith Gleeson doubtless considering themselves very lucky men indeed. O'Sullivan's stuck with O'Gara at stand-off half, which could explain the odd selection on the left wing.

Ulster must have their day and as such, when the biggest, nastiest bruisers in all of France are snarling and biting and baying for blood in the first five minutes, and that damned band is playing Les Marseillaises over and over again, and Michalak launches a garryowen into the starry heavens, there'll be a little maneen beneath it, wearing a scrumcap on the left wing. Tyrone Howe, this is your life - or immenient death. The Lodge will see one of their own, the French will see only prey, and they'll torture Howe as mercilessly as they tortured John Kelly down in Australia.

France to cover, methinks.